• An interview with Dhrupal Shah, product designer, evive

    08/15/2016 at 20:49 0 comments

    We found the evive project here on Hackaday.io and were interested in how it would get to market. I speak with one of the project members, Dhrupal Shah, here:

    Your product, evive, is a modular learning platform built using Arduino for processing. Tell us about all the many modules:

    With Arduino MEGA at its heart, evive is IoT ready with WiFi, Bluetooth and XBee compatibility. It has a 2600mAh Li-ion battery inside, which can power evive upto 4.5 hours, and it can also be powered externally from a wall adapter or your power bank or an external battery, ensuring maximum portability.

    The plug and play hardware module consisting of motor, motor driver, pneumatic, relay and servo compatible outputs, potentiometers, switches and LEDs make working with and driving robots easy and fun, and allow multi-modal feedback to the user with LEDs and a buzzer.

    The data acquisition module uses a state-of-the-art IC that allows dual-channel high speed voltage sensing in the range +/-30V and current sensing in the range +/-3A. The SD card support and real-time clock makes evive perfect for time critical data collection experiments. evive’s prototyping hub allows users to workout custom circuits and is compatible with most Arduino shields and add-ons. The novel idea of visual menu-based interface for Arduino programming allows user's to control programs through an onscreen menu, removing the need to re-program the microcontroller repeatedly. evive works across multiple platforms like LabVIEW, MATLAB, Scratch, Eclipse, ROS, Python, Arduino IDE and Processing.

    Tell us about the manufacturing process:

    evive’s manufacturing will go through component procurement, PCB fabrication and component soldering, case fabrication and labelling, assembling and testing stages.

    PCB fabrication and component soldering has been outsourced to our PCB fabrication partners in India. While our prototypes have an in-house 3D printed case, that will be replaced with an injection molded plastic case on the final product. These will be fabricated in India and will be followed by screen printing labels. Assembling, software uploading and testing will be done at Agilo Technologies’ warehouses.

    There is a well-designed case for this product, which makes it super attractive. How was this designed and prototyped?

    The case went through innumerable iterations, with our trusty Prusa-i3 3D printer printing our prototypes immediately, enabling less than 24-hour prototype turnaround times. As a result of the team being so small, everyone would sit in on the design process, so we decided the component placement first that made the most sense from a user perspective and then the PCB and case were designed around it.

    One of the biggest challenges was housing a multitude of components in a compact and lightweight device, where the mechanical engineering and design background of Pankaj came into use.

    The case comprises of three separate parts- the top, the bottom and the magic lid. The magic lid allows access to a mini-breadboard, IoT panel, Arduino pinouts etc. where one can connect shields and other add-ons. It’s design was iterated upon for better fit and easy operation. The top and bottom can be unscrewed and internal components like battery, PCBs, micro-controller etc. can be accessed. Design features like heating vents, mounting holes and breadboard mounts were added for better heat dissipation, mounting evive on projects and snapping standard sized breadboards on it respectively. Review from students of Design department at IIT Kanpur helped us to make the case more ergonomic and hence handy. All in all, being makers ourselves, utmost care was taken to make it user friendly and intuitive, focussing on every detail.

    Tell us more about prototyping, manufacturing and crowdfunding in India.

    One word: Tough. It’s lot effort taking to find components like inductors and capacitors of non-generic values in India, not to mention ICs. This imposed a huge restriction on how quickly we could...

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